The New Deal Skateboards

The New Deal Skateboards

The New Deal Skateboards has been founded in 1990.

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New Deal Skateboards, founded in 1990, was one of the first skater-owned skate companies when it came to modern skateboarding. The company was created by bringing together British skateboarder Steve Douglas, industry figure Paul Schmitt and artist/skateboarder Andy Howell. New Deal Skateboards was born in the early 90s, at a time in skateboarding history when the big brands that dominated the industry didn't really drive the culture forward. New Deal was all about low budget DIY culture, evolving tricks and innovation, and focused primarily on unknown skaters (who later became icons). With crazy graphics, most designed by Gothenburg native Gorm Boberg, New Deal Skateboards ushered in a new era and decade of skateboarding.

New Deal was among the most successful skater-owned brands to emerge in the early 90s. They became the brand that turned Ed Templeton into a pro, and eventually founded a distribution company (Giant Distribution), d other big names (Underworld Element, before changing it to Element) and iconic brands (Mad Circle, which had both Bobby Puleo and Pontus Alv), and well-known media companies (411VM and On Video) who have all shaped skateboarding in its own right.

Ed Templeton for New Deal Skateboards

ed templeton: "a very good skateboarder you've probably never heard of"

Now the founders of New Deal - Paul Schmitt (PS Stix deck maker), Andy Howell (street pro and creative director) and Steve Douglas (vert pro) - are re-releasing their original decks, starting with the very first catalog from 1990 and going through their favorite shapes and graphics all the way back to 1992. For starters, they remade pro boards for: Andy Howell, Danny Sargent, Steve Douglas, Andrew Morrison and Ed Templeton.

Teenagers of the 90's will surely remember the huge influence that New Deal, as well as World Industries and H-Street had on the skate industry. Together, these skater-owned brands demonstrated that young people could not only run and market businesses on their own, but they could do it better and more authentically than older “businessmen”.

In the 70s and 80s, most skate products (decks, trucks, wheels) and media were controlled by five brands. Known as the Big Five, they were: NHS (Santa Cruz), Ermico (Independent, Thunder, Venture truck manufacturers, Thrasher), Tracker Trucks (Transworld), Powell-Peralta and Vision. Skateboarder-owned businesses weren't new (see Alva and Powell-Peralta), but brands like New Deal sparked a movement to view the skate industry as something young skaters could actually access and shape as they heard it.

original press release from New Deal skateboards

When Paul, Andy and Steve started New Deal in 1990, they collectively filled every role in the business. They skated, filmed, edited, created graphics, built board presses, handled sales, and organized a team of skateboarders who were equally progressive (like Ed Templeton doing impossibilities on stairs or Ali Mills documenting the first nollie flip on video). They also designed new board technologies and made some of skateboarding's first baggy jeans, taking skateboarders completely out of their 80s neon shorts.

original hand drawn New Deal logo

original hand drawn New Deal logo

For starters, the logo looks like a teenager scribbled with a pencil, which isn't far from the truth. Andy designed the logo in a hotel room when they were in Del Mar for a National Skateboarding Association contest. And the line at the bottom of their first ad, "as long as we're not a rock-n-roll band and we don't make coffee," is a quote from the lawyer they consulted for sure they could start a business by the name of New Deal.

Andy howell's first ad

Over time, their works have become a valuable collector's item, and these days, original New Deal decks are listed on eBay for up to $1,000. More recently, Andy designed a series of inflatable toy boards and guns through Supreme, which will inevitably resell many times their list price.